Waste Management Work on Emerging Compounds

The Division of Waste Management’s (DWM) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance strategy includes several key elements. From community engagement and outreach to working with state and local partners as PFAS compounds are detected, the division focuses on the impacts that these compounds have on the people and environment. There are new and emerging compounds beyond PFAS, such as 1,4-dioxane, and division staff continue to work with permitted facilities to identify and provide technical solutions when such compounds are found based on relevant science and research. 

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The first key element of the strategy includes continued engagement with communities across North Carolina regarding PFAS. The Division of Waste Management has worked diligently across the state from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain to engage communities on this important subject. The division's plan for continued engagement with communities includes planning for and participating in public information sessions regarding PFAS, disseminating information through DEQ’s website and active participation in upcoming conferences regarding this important subject. The DWM will also continue to support local health departments by providing assistance on environmental sampling for PFAS and to be a resource in conjunction with state's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on health effects.

The second key element included in DWM’s PFAS strategy includes evaluating current sites within DWM’s inventory where potential PFAS impacts may exist. DWM’s strategy includes continued evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Landfill leachate for PFAS, reviewing current RCRA sites with closure permits for potential use of AFFF fire-fighting foam and continued coordination with Department of Defense facilities regarding PFAS areas of concern. This element will also include coordination with stakeholders to obtain sampling data related to PFAS to ensure protection of receptors to include private well users.

Division of Waste Management PFAS Data by Concentration and PFAS Group as presented during the Secretaries Science Advisory Board Dec. 7, 2020, meeting. 

PFAS In Landfills

As part of DEQ’s overall assessment of PFAS in North Carolina, the Division of Waste Management now requires all solid waste sanitary landfills to include PFAS analyses of all regular groundwater, surface water and leachate samples (letter distributed March 13, 2023).    DEQ started receiving results from landfills in late 2023. 

Preliminary results at the Sampson County Landfill led DEQ to initiate sampling offsite of residential wells to ensure residents have safe drinking water.  

Drinking Water Well Sampling 

At DEQ's direction through the 2019 Consent Order, Chemours is sampling private drinking water wells  for PFAS contamination in eight counties counties:  Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus. Cumberland, New Hanover, Pender, Robeson and Sampson  counties.  If the well is found to have contamination above action levels,  residents will qualify for alternative water supplies.  Learn more at the links below: 

Well Sampling Information for New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender Counties 

Well Sampling Information for Residents in Bladen, Cumberland, Robeson and Sampson Counties

The third element of DWM’s PFAS strategy includes continued focus on evaluating treatment technologies that are available for private well water treatment to include Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems. The DWM plans to sample the newly installed reverse osmosis systems that are being installed around the Chemours' Fayetteville Works plant while also finishing the granular activated carbon pilot testing program. The DWM’s testing will continue to provide critical information on the effectiveness of these systems to ensure safe private well water supplies are being provided to the public.

PFAS Treatment Assistance Program

In the summer of 2023, the Division of Waste Management launched the PFAS Treatment Assistance Program.  Using the Bernard Allen Emergency Drinking Water Fund, the program provides some financial assistance for the purchase of treatment systems or, where feasible, connection to  public water to reduce exposure to PFAS where no responsible party is providing alternative drinking water.   To accommodate as many affected residents as possible, the pilot reimbursement program is based on a tiered structure that considers treatment system type or public water connection and household income level. Learn More. 

The final element of DWM’s PFAS strategy includes continued and expansion of staff knowledge base to make informed decisions on PFAS. By sending division staff to local and national conferences on PFAS-related issues, staff will expand their knowledge base. They will also maintain productive relationships with other agencies like NCDHHS and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to further knowledge on this subject.